Amazed Disgusted and Shocked I need to warn you in advance, this is not for the faint of heart, OK? If you get squeamish easily, ya best click off and leave now.
Putting off the chicken coop cleaning was done for long enough! I’d fiddle-farted around most of the spring and the spiders and icky stuff was beginning to get to me (Insert disgusted face here (Really I wish I had one of those “insert face here” on this blog-post editor!).
Weekly, one needs to clean the shavings of poop, and then do general maintenance, of raking, picking up random bits of trash and god-knows-what, that the hens dig up in the yard. Then you have to clean up the storage area of the stuff you thought you wanted to keep and now find you can surely do without.
It’s all good, but it can wear you out. I’d let this go for several weeks now and was sort of tired with all the catching up I’d done for the last hour.
Along with the usual cleaning, I also decided to do that Spring Cleaning, I skipped doing! I’m going to hate myself in the morning, I can tell already.
When my husband brings me the pressure washer, I’m elated that I get to blast the shit out of stuff with water, but appalled at the thought of how much my arms are going to hurt in the morning. I begin by washing down the walls, back corner, then out to the front corner. After that, I blast the roof where the spider webs are! If you are as arachnophobia prone as I am, you know that you would also back out closer to the door, one step at a time, while you blast away. Just so you don’t end up with an unhappy spider landing down your shirt…
As I finish up the coop area, I move over to the nesting area where they work their magic laying eggs. It’s pretty dusty in there and thankfully the girls are finished laying. With the exception of one hen laying claim to that area, it’s free and clear. I move the grumpy broody hen out-of-the-way, for now. She officially hates me, at the moment… =/
I take down the nesting boxes which are held in place with Zip-Ties. I can always put them back when I’m done washing the area down.
When I do that, and move a bit of plastic which had fallen down on the floor, a passel (a bunch) of baby rats scrambled out of the area. They shot everywhere! Left, Right, Between my feet, Over my feet… It was pandemonium in that place!! About that time, the hens saw the scrambling baby rats and …. well…. Nature took it’s course…
I’d never seen so many chickens running around with rats for dinner in my life! It was disgusting, disturbing and fascinating! I didn’t want to watch, but like a soap-box show on TV, you just can’t miss what’s going on. I knew that chickens ate other critters. I’d seen them devour snakes, and kill other animals who had the distinct misfortune of finding their way in the coop; like a squirrel and a few birds, and random mice. I had never seen them GULP down a whole baby rat before. Kill something yes, but Eat it? Ick… Dear God. I was now damaged goods. You just can’t unsee some things…
With that said, I was totally fascinated with how they beat the snot out of them, then swallow them head-first. The fights that broke out in the coop, I was powerless to change, except maybe push them apart; which I did. I even moved some of the small dead rats into a hole so I could bury them, but the hens took them out before I could get the others collected. I finally gave up and said, FINE! Eat Rat! They did….
And they ate and ate and ate…. What they didn’t eat they left half dead, and I had to finish off the little rat babies.
Can you imagine what that did to me? Dear God, I wanted chickens but not this! Just one more thing “they” don’t tell you when you decide to have backyard chickens. You can read up on this, till the cows come home but you aren’t prepared for the real life with chickens (another blog of mine).
By now I’m pretty shell-shocked and just keep clicking photos, so you can live though my experiences. It’s not always easy, lemme tell ya! Below are more (yes graphic) photos of the hens enjoying Rat, a la carte’. This tiny New Hampshire Red pullet, is only 12 weeks old and she’s a master of killing and consuming baby rats. It’s kind of unnerving to think that I could be dinner as well, if I ever passed out in the coop. =/
This young Red SexLink was one of the most persistent and aggressive. No sooner than I removed a rat from her, she found another one, or grabbed the one I had, back in her beak. She was so determined to eat it, I finally just gave it back to her, and grabbed my camera.
OK One More… Don’t say I didn’t warn you… You just can’t Un-See some things… ♥The Chicken Mom♥